Biliary excretion of several anionic compounds was examined by assessing their ATP-dependent uptake in bile canalicular membrane vesicles (CMV) prepared from six human liver samples. 2, 4-Dinitrophenyl-S-glutathione (DNP-SG), leukotriene C4 (LTC4), sulfobromophthalein glutathione (BSP-SG), E3040 glucuronide (E-glu), beta-estradiol 17-(beta-D-glucuronide) (E2-17G), grepafloxacin glucuronide (GPFXG), pravastatin, BQ-123, and methotrexate, which are known to be substrates for the rat canalicular multispecific organic anion transporter, and taurocholic acid (TCA), a substrate for the bile acid transporter, were used as substrates. ATP-dependent and saturable uptake of TCA, DNP-SG, LTC4, E-glu, E2-17G, and GPFXG was observed in all human CMV preparations examined, suggesting that these compounds are excreted in the bile via a primary active transport system in humans. Primary active transport of the other substrates was also seen in some of CMV preparations but was negligible in the others. The ATP-dependent uptake of all the compounds exhibited a large inter-CMV variation, and there was a significant correlation between the uptake of glutathione conjugates (DNP-SG, LTC4, and BSP-SG) and glucuronides (E-glu, E2-17G, and GPFXG). However, there was no significant correlation between TCA and the other organic anions, implying that the transporters for TCA and for organic anions are different also in humans. When the average value for the ATP-dependent uptake by each preparation of human CMVs was compared with that of rat CMVs, the uptake of glutathione conjugates and nonconjugated anions (pravastatin, BQ-123, and methotrexate) in humans was approximately 3- to 76-fold lower than that in rats, whereas the uptake of glucuronides was similar in the two species. Thus there is a species difference in the primary active transport of organic anions across the bile canalicular membrane that is less marked for glucuronides.